Graphic Novel Review 99/365: Tuesday Teacher Reflection

As my loyal readers know, at times, I veer from the normal review, at times for my own sanity, sometimes wavering from doing only reviews, and sometimes because I want to discuss something happening in my classroom.  Today, it’s a mixture of both.

I sit here late on a Tuesday writing this.  I had a rough day at school today, and I left feeling a little down.  Luckily, I play trivia on Tuesday nights, and my team is pretty good.  We won again today, and as I write this, I’m listening to Young MC’s Stone Cold Rhymin,’ so it ain’t all that bad!

My frustration with the day wasn’t one major event, more of a bunch of little bothers that emotionally weighed me down.  I’ll use my platform to discuss one of those frustrations today, and I hope some of you can relate and find solace in my reflection.

I was interviewed for an educational podcast last night (I’ll post a link when it comes out), and man, did I sound good.  I was in the zone.  I was discussing all of the cool things that are going on in my classroom, and my plans, dreams, strengths, etc.  And for someone listening to me speak, they might think that there are teachers out there that have it all figured out, and their kids eat lessons out of their hands.  Trust me, that’s not the case.

I am doing a cool project with my graphic novel class.  We read Ben Passmore’s Your Black Friend (please read my review of that short comic here), and we are assembling our own comic of socially inspired shorts that we are going to try to publish, and I have kids working all angles of the project from the story writing to the emailing of publishers.  In theory, it is DOPE!

…however, I have kids that just don’t care.  I have kids that pull out the iPad and play pool when I’m not on that side of the room.  It’s not all, and it’s not even a majority, but it’s frustrating when as a teacher, you get uber-passionate about a project that you think is completely different and more innovative than anything that you’ve ever done, and some kids just want to play pool while listening to G Herbo.

I’m moving toward not giving the class large chunks of in-class time to work on the project right now while we are in the infant stages, but I do need conference time with most of these kids, and in-class is where it makes sense.  In ways, technology is amazing in education, but in ways, it’s a complete distraction.  Back in my day (yes, I know how that sounds) with no tech, a good chunk of kids did the work out of a lack of anything else to do, now, we are constantly fighting against literally EVERYTHING on the internet…sometimes TWO of the everyhtings if they have their phone and iPad going at once.  This is not a rant about tech in the classroom; it’s just a reflection about my need and quest to engage every single kid in my class even though I know that I have most of them completely into what I’m doing.

I’ll keep you posted on how things progress, and in the coming days I will ask you for some money for our comic to be published.  Just know that even those of us that seem to have a finger on the pulse of what’s working and good in the classroom face serious disappointments.  But we keep driving, working, innovating, altering plans, and engaging in conversations with kids about their learning.

Also, when you are down, go listen to “Know How” from Young MC’s Stone Cold Rhymin.’

Happy reading!

Eric

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